2 March, 2001

In a letter to the priests of the Archdiocese of Armagh today, Archbishop Seán Brady said the following:
I ask you to do all you can to offer comfort and hope to all who are affected by the latest threat to the agricultural industry.

I want you to urge people to co-operate fully with the advice of the Departments of Agriculture (North and South) and to act with the greatest responsibility. People should be encouraged to listen attentively to and carry out fully the regulations and restrictions imposed by the civic authorities at local and national level.

Following advice received by the Department of Agriculture I ask priests to take the necessary precautions and to put in place disinfectant mats at all entrances to churches and car parks.

All Masses in the following churches in the restricted zone have been cancelled this weekend: St Joseph’s Church, Meigh; St Patrick’s Church, Dromintee; Sacred Heart Church, Jonesboro; St Mary’s Church, Mullaghbawn; St Oliver Plunkett Church, Forkhill; Our Lady, Queen of Peace Church, Aughanduff; St Brigid’s Church, Glassdrummond; Sacred Heart Church, Shelagh; St Malachy’s Church, Carrickcruppin (Camlough); Sacred Heart Church, Lislea; St Michael’s Church, Killean; St Brigid’s Church, Kilcurry; St Brigid’s Shrine, Faughart. Parishioners who normally attend these churches are excused from the Sunday Mass obligation and are encouraged to assist at Mass via radio or television. They are encouraged to pray fervently in their own homes for an end to this crisis.

In view of the risk involved people from these areas are not encouraged to travel elsewhere to attend Mass. Anyone who believes that by attending Mass this weekend they might risk spreading the disease is similarly excused.

I leave it up to other parishes to decide to cancel or postpone parish functions in view of the risk involved to the common good of the community.

Prayers should be offered at all Masses that further outbreaks of the disease may be avoided. Parishioners affected by the crisis should be contacted by telephone and assured of support and solidarity.
Schools in all parishes should provide disinfectant mats at all entrances and exits.
May St Brigid, Patroness of flocks, fields, and farmyards, protect us at this time.

No interviews will be given.